Society & Culture

Sociologist Arrested in Iran After Commenting on Protests

May 16, 2022
Sandy Pike
2 min read
Saeed Madani, left, was already subject to a travel ban and his books are banned from publication in Iran
Saeed Madani, left, was already subject to a travel ban and his books are banned from publication in Iran

Saeed Madani, a prominent sociologist, author and faculty member at Tehran University, has been arrested by the authorities. It came within hours of him speaking to IranWire about the ongoing protests over food shortages in the country.

According to the state-controlled Mehr News Agency, Madani was arrested and jailed at the weekend on the grounds of “suspicious foreign connections” and “acting against national security” and allegedly collaborating with “well known foreign elements” inside Iran. Mehr did not provide further detail.

His arrest comes in the wake of the Islamic Republic’s attempts to crack down on the ongoing protests in Iran, and on influential members of Iranian society who might publicly comment on the unrest.

In recent weeks the Islamic Republic has also displayed a pattern of arresting documentary filmmakers or people who could document the protests.

The government has simultaneously tried to dismiss the significance of the riots. But Madani had told Iranwire on Saturday: “They pose a serious challenge to the regime.”

He added that these were protests about the state of affairs within the country over the past two decades. “If earlier the protests were against one administration,” he said, “they are now against the whole political system.”

Madani has written numerous books on Iranian social ills including violence against children, addiction and prostitution in Iran. His books have been banned from publication in the country for several years.

He has been associated with various opposition groups in Iran, and in response to his criticism of the government’s handling of coronavirus, he was stopped by the IRGC in January this year from traveling from Tehran to take up a post at Yale University.

Madani has been detained and imprisoned on three previous occasions.

More as we have it.

Update: On Tuesday, Saeed Madani's lawyer Mustafa Nili told the news website Emtedad that Madani was being held in solitary confinement in Evin Prison after being arrested during a raid on his home in which his electronic devices and those of his wife were confiscated.

Decrying the "baseless" charges against his client, Nili said the order for Madani's arrest had come from Branch 2 of Evin Security Court and the Ministry of Intelligence. Earlier that day they had gone to follow up with the Ministry of Culture on his complaint about being banned from writing.

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Sociologist Arrested in Iran After Commenting on Protests